Recess CBD Review
"Calm, cool, collected" but does it work?
There are some cultural moments that none of us understand. CBD has made the rounds in nearly every industry, from skincare to pet snacks. In some cases, the motives are entirely unclear. A few CBD-infused beverages have cropped up on the market over the last few years, and Recess joining the ranks with a perfectly instagrammable can and simple tagline: “calm, cool, collected”. The line currently includes three flavors: peach ginger, pomegranate hibiscus, and blackberry chai. Their website claims that they have “canned a feeling”, with dreamy cloud imagery and relatable millennial adages about how they “have too many browser tabs open”. They’ve managed to target their audience, but my main question is this: does it work?
The effectiveness of CBD varies completely from one individual to the next. There is no universal recommended dose of CBD, as the needed dosage for whatever desired effect is wholly dependent on the individual. Different factors are all at play here, and it’s tough to know what dosage is required to elicit a calming effect. Ingestible, topical and smokable CBD take different courses through the body, and with different markets becoming saturated with hemp-adjacent products, it’s hard to determine if a scam is in motion.
I’ve tried CBD oil and smoked CBD to no detectable effect. This doesn’t mean CBD is completely ineffective for me (or anyone) across the board, so I jumped at the chance to try Recess and see if this could be my key to calm. I chose the pomegranate hibiscus flavor, because having tried CBD before, I decided it was the only flavor that had the promise of hiding the CBD flavor. I haven’t tried the other two flavors, so this review is solely based on me trying pomegranate hibiscus. I did ask friends what they thought of the other flavors, and the general consensus on them, especially blackberry chai, wasn’t good. The flavor combination sounds awful, so I’m inclined to accept these opinions from people I know and trust. Pomegranate Hibiscus seemed to be the one flavor that no one I reached out to had tried, due to being disappointed by the other two, so I took it on as my burden to try the last of the trio and report back.
Before I get into my review of the drink, let’s look at the claims that Recess makes. Per their website, “each can is a chance to reset and rebalance. It’s how you wish that 2 p.m. coffee made you feel”. They also go on to say Recess is “an antidote to modern times”. These claims are bold for a drink that only contains 10 mg of hemp oil, but also, a little vague. A quick search informed me that the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Forbes have all reported on or reviewed the drink, with the author of the Bon Appetit article stating that “these sparkling drinks have replaced my La Croix habit for good”. OK, let’s slow down. First of all, while I believe that every drink has a place in the beverage hierarchy, comparing La Croix to Recess seems like apples and oranges. La Croix isn’t even close to being the pinnacle of sparkling water, but also it’s misleading to imply that these two beverages are in the same category of comparison. La Croix has been slowly falling lower in the sparkling water ranks for the last few years, and it’s a pretty low blow to posit it against a newer, shinier beverage with an elusive added ingredient. Everyone needs to play fair.
I figured that in order to really gauge the drink properly, I couldn’t smoke any weed for the duration of the trial period. I got a 12 pack, so I decided to experiment with consumption to see if any method would allow me to quell a little bit of the millennial dischord Recess claims I have. The first time, I cracked open the can and sniffed. It smelled good. The scent isn’t necessarily hempy, but I can tell it’s there. The pomegranate and hibiscus scent was promising, and the taste was about what I imagined. It just tastes like a regular drink. There is a bit of that CBD aftertaste in the throat, but it’s nothing repulsive. It’s just fine. But how did I feel? The same. I felt exactly the same. I drank it quickly, assuming that nursing it over time would make it less likely to do anything. I stayed up for another hour watching Seinfeld, then I went to bed. The next day, I decided to up the ante. I drank three of them, staggered through the day. Nothing. By this point, I wondered why the hell they feel comfortable charging fifty some-odd dollars for this. I was a little angry, but decided to keep going. By the third day, I decided to just slam some cans back to back. I figured that if I could OD on CBD, this would be a noble cause for doing so. It would be in the name of science, beverages and experimentation, and everyone would be impressed that I died doing what I loved. After chugging cans in a manner that can only be likened to shotgunning beers in a dorm bathroom, I started to wonder what the fuck was going on. What kind of operation are they running?? I dedicated days to this, and all I felt was a weird wave of regret for giving in to a mediocre drink with outstanding design.
There is absolutely nothing noteworthy about this drink. The flavor is just fine, and please know I’m using the word “fine” with complete disdain. It is not “good” or even “decent”. It’s simply fine. The effects (for me) were nonexistent, and the price tag is hefty. I would never recommend these drinks to anyone, and would probably stop someone if I saw they were interested in purchasing. If you’re interested in trying a CBD drink, I would honestly suggest researching hemp oil, finding a dosage that works for you, and adding it to literally any drink on your own.
You don’t need this. You don’t want this. You can do better.
I’m giving this drink a 3/10. Two points are for the packaging, one point is for the flavor.